Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer Reading Marathon

Hex Hall Book One

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.

Poorly edited, full of typos and inconsistencies but somehow I couldn't put it down. Huh. Another take on witches, weres, etc. at a most un-Hogwart's like school.

After Ever After

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick.

Wonderful. Told from the perspective of a middle school aged cancer survivor. Funny and interesting with the right amount of cancer info and pitch perfect teen voice. Watch out for the ending, though foreshadowed it still comes like a punch in the stomach.

Half Brother

Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel.

I couldn't resist the premise of this one. A middle schooler whose dad is a professor of behavioral psychology gets hired by a university and encouraged to conduct a radical experiment - teaching a chimp  language. The family brings home a baby chimp and raises it as the protagonist's little brother, Zan, teaching him American Sign Language. When bad press and uneven test data doom the grant that is expected to fund the whole thing, dad decides to jettison the experiment and the chimp. By this time our protagonist is completely attached to his little brother, and the end is well done and realistic.

Keeping the Moon

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen.

In the category of books I should have read ages ago, this was worth taking the time to read. A great coming of age, full of quirky characters, mean girls, and everything else you'd expect in chick lit. A nice read.

The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Finally read what everyone else read this past year. A must read. The life of black maids in the south in the 1960's.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

HBO strikes again

A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book One

Game of Thrones by George Martin.

Not sure about HBO's taste in literature, but once again I find myself battling to get books due to a surge in reading caused by HBO's choice. My kids have both read this entire series, waiting the latest installment, so I finally tried it. Eh. Reminds me of Philippa Gregory's The Other Bolyen Girl. Absorbing after a time.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green.

Fabulous. Corpulent, uber football player and gay in high school writes musical. Best friend/boy love, finding yourself, figuring it all out, the parents, etc. Intelligent and witty.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ach, crivens!

The Wee Free Men (Discworld)I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld)                                A Hat Full of Sky: The Continuing Adventures of Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men                   

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchet.

Witchcraft old school - forget the wands and flashy schools with wizards. Thinks herbs and Boffo.

The coming of age of the witch Tiffany Aching in a remote village in the british countryside known as the chalk with healthy help from an unholy band of Feegles. Tiffany embraces witchcraft knowing her countrymen often toss those suspected of being witches into ponds or leave them to die in the snow.

I ran through all three of the Aching adventures - a small neighborhood of Pratchett's Discworld series. Witty, intelligent, and rollicking.

Friday, July 1, 2011

On the Serious Side, Kind of ...

The Last Summer Of The Death Warriors

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork.

I read Marcelo in the Real World last year and was floored at how he nailed the Aspergers character. Spot on, empathetic, pitch perfect. And the writing was fabulous. So, when I saw this one, I had to have it. It took me a year to get to it, and it was a little more work to get into, but it paid off. Wow. I was up until 2 a.m. because I had to see the end. Poor mexican kid who had lost his whole family is on a vendetta meets anglo dying of cancer. An unlikely friendship, a strange path. Hints of Going Bovine. Unique and beautiful. What a writer!

Ostrich Boys

Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray.

Again, took me a year to get to this and I regret it. Think Thirteen Reasons Why from a male perspective, with the squashing of feelings and twisted turns that might take. The british terms and geography may make this challenging for some, but it is worth the ride. Powerful truths about the complicated lives boys lead in those teen years.

The Legend of Bass Reeves

The Legend of Bass Reeves by Gary Paulsen.

I was intrigued by the picture book Bad News for Outlaws and found a reference to this book in the back. Paulsen's writing is lovely, and he does a great job of revealing cherished western legends like Billy the Kid for what they are - frauds - with the exception of this unsung african american hero. Bass's life was long and every minute seemed filled with enough to make any life memorable. Paulsen does an amazing job of honoring this african american hero. Born to slavery, family to native americans in the indian territory, and the best deputy federal marshall the west ever saw. An amazing life.